- January 25, 2023
Paying no mind to the contents of author Thomas Wolfe’s 1940 novel You Can’t Go Home Again, newly appointed St. John Neumann basketball coach Louis Roskowski has done just that and is brimming with enthusiasm and anticipation as he takes over the reins of the Golden Knights boys’ program. Roskowski grew up in Williamsport, playing
Paying no mind to the contents of author Thomas Wolfe’s 1940 novel You Can’t Go Home Again, newly appointed St. John Neumann basketball coach Louis Roskowski has done just that and is brimming with enthusiasm and anticipation as he takes over the reins of the Golden Knights boys’ program.
Roskowski grew up in Williamsport, playing four years at BJN under John Litchfield and one season at Penn College. He then relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, to attend the College of Charleston. While there, he seized the opportunity to coach JV basketball at a local high school. A chance meeting with College of Charleston and former Georgia Tech head coach Bobby Cremins led to a four-year stint under Cremins’ tutelage as a student assistant. This provided Roskowski with the opportunity to broaden his basketball horizons by performing duties that included scouting reports, play calls, video coordinating, and serving on the scout teams during Cremins’ practices.
Four years later, he was offered a position at Charleston Southern University, a member of the Big South Conference, as a video coordinator. This was followed by a few years of high school coaching before COVID hit and a desire for his young family to return home. Then contact with SJN athletic director Frank Lupacchino opened the coaching door for a return to his roots which has raised his excitement level.
“This opportunity to come back to the school where I started my basketball career is really special to me, and something our family [wife Tonique, son Louis and daughter Eliana] is looking forward to,” Roskowski explained.
“Last year, I did some substituting at the school, and this year I have been hired as a full-time teacher. Teaching at the school has helped me develop relationships with the students. Coaching is great, but the relationship with the kids is a very big thing with me. I’m grateful to Frank for his interest in helping me get back home, and I’ll be working hard to make the most of it. I don’t look at coaching as a hobby; I look at it as a job.
“My coaching style is very fundamental. My simple philosophy is to move the ball, move without the ball, change up the defenses and try and get the ball in the hoop. I don’t like to settle for 3s. An old saying says, ‘inside out, no doubt.’ I like to look to get the ball inside and then back out to the perimeter. I think there is a higher percentage of making that shot when the pass comes from the inside. I like to get out and run. We can run plays, or we can make plays, and I prefer the latter. I want the players to understand the game and think for themselves. I prepare them; they play.”
Based primarily on SJN’s years of dominance as a single A school, a recent PIAA ruling has elevated the Golden Knights to play at the AA level beginning this season.
“I’m looking at it as a challenge we have to be ready for,” Roskowski reasoned. “It would be awesome to say we could win a district title in AA because the school has always been Single A and never had that opportunity. I don’t understand all the PIAA rules, but I think we will be fine. It may give our guys a little bit of fire to prove we can play at AA.”
As for his expectations, “Honestly, I’m the type of person that doesn’t care too much what people may say or think about me. I just do me and let everything else fall in line. I feel confident. I have been doing this now for 16 seasons. I’ve dealt with parents and other people before, so it is one of those things that you deal with as you go.”
Like others in the basketball community, Roskowski has heard the speculation as to where Davion Hill, the 2021/2022 Class A Pennsylvania State Player of the Year and two-time first-team all-state standout, may choose to play during his upcoming senior year. Hill is receiving interest from colleges such as Missouri State, Towson, Kent State, and Maryland, among others.
“From what I have heard, this has been the talk every year since he’s been here. I’m planning and hopeful he is coming back, but if Davion, for some reason, chooses to take his talents somewhere else, then we will move on accordingly.
“We’ve lost several good players from last year’s team, and whether you look at it as rebuilding or not, the guys have to know that when their back is against the wall, the only way to get away from that wall is by working your way out. We need to be in the gym, and we need to be working. Rebuilding is what it is; every team goes through it at some time or another. Regardless, you are only as good as your players. I want them to buy into the fact that you only get better if you choose to work towards it.
“I expect my players to give everything they have. Come every day focused. Be ready to work. A player is only as good as how hard he plays. They need to be willing to work on the skills they are uncomfortable with. I will hold players accountable, especially in the classroom. If they can’t keep their grades up, they can’t play.”
Coming home again, Louis Roskowski looks forward to writing his own new chapters of the St. John Neumann basketball legacy.